Having had a couple of days to think this through, I can’t help but think that in the wake of Armando Galarraga’s perfect game that was spoiled by an umpire’s mistake, the answer to what should Bud Selig do is simple.
Correct the scorecard and give the kid a perfect game.
It’s not just that he deserved it – Galarraga himself says he has the proof that he did it and he is comfortable with that – but that Jim Joyce deserves it, too.
Twice, Sports Illustrated interviewed players and both times Joyce was ranked as the second best umpire in baseball. Joyce is a “blend into the background” professional. If you think about it, consider how the players and Leyland reacted. Sure – after the game was over, Leyland vented, but every player and even Leyland not only felt for Galarraga, but they felt for JOYCE. That kind of respect was earned in the 20+ years he’s been an umpire.
In talking about this with my wife, she says you can’t fix this game without considering other games and she’s right. In fact, there was another game that night where the outcome of the game hinged on a bad call. You never want that to happen. And you can’t go back and retroactively apply this to every game in history.
But this is different. This correction doesn’t do anything but eliminate an unnecessary at bat, adjust Jason Donald’s stats, and give Galarraga what he earned – which is a perfect game.
Mr. Selig – do the right thing. You have benefited from the news coverage and visibility. The sport has benefited from the class shown by players, managers, and even Joyce himself – who not only admitted the mistake, but personally apologized to Galarraga and then the world. Even if we restore it, those of us are going to look at the list of perfect games and remember “that was the game where…” – and Joyce has to live with that. But when you have a chance to make something right, I think you have to do it.
It’s the perfect ending to what should be a perfect game.